Video diary: Teenage ‘cancer warrior’ Kira Noble

Kira Noble was told her cancer was incurable - but her fight didn't stop there.

For the past five years, 16-year-old Kira Noble has seen more of the inside of a hospital than she has her school and home.

Diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, the Edinburgh schoolgirl known as the ‘cancer warrior’ has relapsed multiple times having undergone gruelling treatments and surgeries.

After 20 rounds of chemotherapy, she was told in 2019 she was incurable.

But the fight didn’t end there.

She decided to try an experimental drug Lorlatinib, an ALK Inhibitor, and has now charted her progress in a video diary.

Coronavirus claims 81 more lives as death toll rises to 447

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed the latest figures as she answered questions from opposition leaders.

The coronavirus death toll in Scotland has risen to 447, the First Minister has confirmed.

Nicola Sturgeon said 81 more deaths had been recorded since yesterday.

Before a ‘virtual’ session of First Minister’s Questions, she said 4957 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in Scotland.

Sturgeon stressed as usual that the figure was an “underestimate”.

A total of 1781 coronavirus confirmed or suspected patients were in hospital as of 9am on Thursday, with 212 in intensive care.

The First Minister said lives have been “transformed in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago” in the 100 days since the first case was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

She added: “This virtual session of FMQs might, in the scheme of things, seem like a relatively minor example of that, but it is a striking example of that.”

Addressing the Easter weekend, the First Minister urged Scots to continue to follow lockdown protocols.

She said: “I know how hard it is for people to do that, it will seem even harder over this Easter holiday weekend, especially for families with children and indeed for the children themselves and for older people who would normally be spending time with their grandchildren.

“Please stay in touch with family, friends and loved ones in whatever alternative way best works for you.

“Reach out to and look out for people even as you stay physically apart from them, but please do follow the rules and stay at home over Easter.” 

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Prime Minister out of intensive care but remains in hospital

Downing Street confirmed he was in 'good spirits' at St Thomas' Hospital in London on Thursday evening.

Prime Minister: Boris Johnson is out of intensive care.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, Downing Street has confirmed.

On Thursday night, a spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery.

“He is in extremely good spirits.”

The Prime Minister was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday after his Covid-19 symptoms persisted for ten days.

On Monday he was moved into intensive care following medical advice.

Earlier on Thursday, Downing Street said he’d had a “good night” at the hospital and praised the NHS for their “brilliant care”.

He was said to be continuing with “standard oxygen treatment”, while it was indicated he had not taken part in any drug trials for Covid-19.

Johnson was last seen in public clapping for NHS workers in Downing Street last Thursday before his admission to hospital three days later.

Sturgeon: No likelihood of lockdown being lifted after Easter

The First Minister says it is 'right and proper' to stick with restrictions for as 'long as is necessary'.

Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to continue following public health guidance on social distancing over the Easter weekend.

Speaking at a virtual Q&A with Scottish political leaders, the first minister acknowledged the difficulty of the current situation but said it was “important to follow the rules and stay at home”.

“I know how hard it is for people to do that, it will seem even harder over this Easter holiday weekend, especially for families with children and indeed for the children themselves and for older people who would normally be spending time with their grandchildren,” said Sturgeon.

“Please stay in touch with family, friends and loved ones in whatever alternative way best works for you,” she added.

The First Minister was speaking ahead of Thursday afternoon’s emergency Cobra meeting featuring the leaders of the devolved governments.

It will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent another night in hospital suffering from Covid-19.

Responding to a question from Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw, Sturgeon said she hoped the UK would emerge from the current lockdown measures in “an orderly way that protects health and is mindful of the other impacts in a unified way”.

She said: “I don’t want these measures to be in place a minute longer than they have to be but equally I don’t want us to come out of them prematurely in a way that will do damage, that will see the virus spiral out of control, see our NHS potentially overwhelmed and see more lives lost, so it is right and proper that we stick with it as long as is necessary.

“And I want to be clear to people, because there is a lot of media speculation, there is no likelihood or prospect of these measures being lifted after the Easter weekend. COBRA is likely to meet again later next week – I certainly support that, to start to think about the exit strategy and what that might look like.

“But it is likely that restrictions and measures are going to be in place for some weeks to come yet. And again I would appeal to people to stick with this; we are not asking people to change their lives in such a fundamental way for no reason,” she added.

The First Minister also said the Scottish Government is working hard to address concerns over the availability and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE).

More than 100 medical professionals have signed an open letter that expresses ‘grave concerns’ over the adequacy of PPE provided to them in the fight against Covid-19.

Medics say they have been given “thin plastic aprons” which cover “very little” of their bodies and surgical masks that don’t protect them from anything airborne, as well as “flimsy” eye cover which does not offer enough protection.

Sturgeon said: “The issue of PPE is of fundamental, paramount importance and we have been working hard to resolve the concerns that people have that roughly fall into the following categories: adequacy of supplies, distribution of those supplies to where they are needed, the guidance we are issuing to workers about what types of equipment they should be using, in what circumstances, and also there have been concerns raised about the quality.

“So, very briefly, we do have adequate supplies, we’re not complacent about that, there are global pressures on that supply, We have taken significant steps to improve distribution and we continue to do that, addressing glitches and concerns where they arise,” she added.

Special blue light tribute during clap for our carers

The campaign continues to recognise key workers and all those on the frontline battling to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Blue light tribute: The clap for our carers campaign recognises all those on the frontline fighting Covid-19.

The nation has once again come together to thank the NHS workers fighting coronavirus.

Now in its third week, the clap for our carers campaign continues to recognise key workers and all those working on the frontline battling to stop the spread of Covid-19.

At 8pm on Thursday, people across the UK showed their appreciation for health staff by cheering and applauding into the streets.

Police Scotland joined forces with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service to hold a special blue light tribute.

Thank you to all our emergency service workers who are working during #Coronavirus to keep our communities safe 👏 🚒 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 🚑 Scottish Ambulance Service#ClapForCarers #ClapForKeyWorkers

Posted by Police Scotland on Thursday, 9 April 2020

The campaign is set to take place every Thursday while the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect day-to-day life.

100-year-old dies in lockdown after final visit from son

Vina McLaren was filmed speaking to her son for the final time over a balcony by STV News.

A care home resident who celebrated her 100th birthday in lockdown has died after STV News filmed her final visit from her son.

Vina McLaren, who received 50 cards including one from the Queen on her landmark birthday last month, passed away peacefully in her sleep at St David’s care home, in Forfar, Angus, on Sunday morning.

Less than 48 hours earlier, she was visited by son Rae McLaren, 66, who stood in the car park while she was on a balcony a safe distance away.

During the chat, she said: “I’m a hundred seemingly … imagine anyone living until they are 100, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

“I’m taking care of myself and they’re very good to you in here. I would honestly say they’ve been awfully good.”

Rae usually saw his mum on Sundays but agreed to come last Friday to be interviewed by STV News reporter Susan Nicholson.

Vina with her 100th birthday card from the Queen, and speaking with Rae.

Rae, from Forfar, said: “I’m so glad that I did because normally I go up on Sunday but if I had waited, it would have been too late as she died on Sunday morning.”

St David’s owner Ivan Cornford said: “Vina’s family are quite happy for the interview to be broadcast — they say she would have loved to be on TV.”

Ivan and 11 of his staff, nicknamed the ‘St David’s 12’, have been separated from their own families and living inside the home since March 19.

They believe it’s the best way of reducing the risk of coronavirus and are due to leave on April 20 – after 32 nights in voluntary isolation.

Vina, whose full name was Davina, reached 100 on March 17 but visitors to the home had already been banned due to rising fears of coronavirus. The home’s full isolation began two days later.

While being interviewed on the day of his final visit, Rae said: “We don’t have to worry at all about my mother as she is insulated from it all, and I have great regard for the people who’re doing this because they’ve been in lockdown for three weeks already and it could go on for quite a while yet, it’s really very admirable.”

Despite his mother dying from natural causes and not coronavirus, Rae backs the strict safety measures.

He said: “Ivan was really clever. We were surprised at first. But he realised what was happening and started lockdown before everyone else.

“The staff are great; they’re so friendly and caring and what they’ve done is so forward thinking. They’re going an extra mile.

“They could have gone home to their families, so to stay in the home is amazing and the residents’ families don’t need to worry.”

Due to lockdown measures, only four member of Vina’s immediate family, including her other son Ian, will be allowed to attend her funeral this Friday.

Rae said: “The rest of the family are devastated. It’s the first funeral I’ll be at where you can’t even have a cup of tea and my mum wouldn’t be pleased about that.

“One of my sons is in Glasgow and he thought the world of his granny and would have been up here straight away but obviously he can’t.

“Once this is all over we will all be able to get together and scatter her ashes in the same place where my father’s ashes were scattered.”


Scottish football season suspended until at least June 10

No football will take place at any level in Scotland before June 10, the SFA said.

Hampden had been due to host Scottish Cup semi-finals and the final over the next two months.

The suspension of all football in Scotland has been extended until at least June 10 following a meeting of the Scottish FA board.

A meeting was convened remotely on Thursday, during which there was unanimous agreement to extend the initial hiatus which had been set at April 30.

The coronavirus-enforced suspension applies to all levels of the game in Scotland.

It comes before SPFL clubs vote tomorrow on whether to end the lower league season as it stands, with a decision on the Premiership to come later.

A statement read: “The Scottish FA board met via videoconference this morning to discuss the implications of the most up-to-date government and medical advice on the governing body’s suspension on football.

“Based on this advice, it has unanimously agreed to extend the suspension at all levels of the game from professional to recreational until at least 10 June.

“The board had initially suspended football until further notice and with a stipulation of April 30 at the earliest, in order to give member clubs greater certainty on player welfare and wellbeing, as well as financial clarity.”

Explaining the background, the SFA noted that its medical consultant Dr John MacLean had been providing daily updates and had also examined in detail a letter from the Scottish government’s minister for public health, sport and well-being, Joe Fitzpatrick.

In it, Fitzpatrick indicated that the current ban on public gatherings was “unlikely to be lifted for at least 13 weeks” and that NHS Scotland was currently on an emergency footing until June 10 at the earliest. That date has now been mirrored by football authorities, pending further review.

With no prospect of group training before wider social measures are relaxed and around six weeks of conditioning work needed before competitive football resumes, no earlier dates were considered.

Rod Petrie, Scottish FA president, said: “We are grateful to Dr John MacLean for his input to the Joint Response Group and to the Scottish FA board.

“The message is very clear: the government restrictions introduced to save lives must be adhered to and there is no prospect of an early resumption of training let alone organised football in Scotland for several weeks.

“The decision to suspend all football until at least June 10 is to help clubs ensure the safety and well-being of players, staff and supporters as well as take steps to mitigate their costs.

“Scottish football applauds everyone working within NHS Scotland and the care sector and should place no additional burden at a time when their resources are being tested to the limit because of COVID-19.”


Tribute to ‘fit and healthy’ postman killed by coronavirus

Alexander Fenty, known as Akie, from Peterhead died on Sunday leaving behind a teenage daughter.

A woman whose partner died from suspected coronavirus has issued a desperate plea to people in Scotland, urging them to stay at home.

Alexander Fenty, known as Akie, a postman and father-of-one from Peterhead, died at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Sunday.

His patner Lisa Masson and 15-year-old daughter Abby are now in self isolation at their home in the town.

‘I want people to understand, everywhere, that if the love of my life can be taken away from me at 45 years old then it can hit anybody. ‘

Lisa Masson

Speaking to STV News, Lisa said: “Akie was fit and healthy, no underlying conditions that we know of.

“I want people to understand, everywhere, that if the love of my life can be taken away from me at 45 years old then it can hit anybody. Anybody.

“People need to stay at home. Help the NHS by staying at home and save lives, because that’s what they’ll do.

“And if even one person can be saved by this and a family doesn’t have to go through what we’re going through, then I’ll be happy. And so would Akie.”

Lisa said Alexander had been left with a cough after suffering from a flu-like illness late last year.

A few weeks ago he started feeling worse and by last Sunday his breathing had deteriorated.

He went to hospital in Aberdeen and was discharged a few hours later with what was thought to be a chest infection.

That evening Lisa phoned an ambulance as Alexander’s breathing had not improved.

Paramedics came in and took him back to hospital as they were unhappy with his oxygen levels.

“They got him into the ambulance”, she added.

“I said cheerio to him. He said ‘I love you.’ I said ‘I love you back.’ I said ‘I’ll see you tomorrow.'”

Father: Lisa Masson said her partner was a devoted father to daugther Abby.

At around 11.15pm that night Lisa received a text message from Alexander, telling her he loved her.

Just after midnight, she received a phone call from the hospital.

“We got a call saying he’d passed away at quarter to twelve on Sunday night.”

Lisa said the doctors told her that while Alexander had not been tested for coronavirus, because of the way he presented and his condition deteriorating so quickly, they were “practically positive” it was Covid-19, and his death would be recorded as such.

“He was sarcastic, cheeky, funny, a brilliant dad and a brilliant partner,” Lisa said.

“A genuinely nice guy. A friend to many. A good brother. We loved him. We loved him dearly.”

She added that their daughter had been “the apple of his eye”.

“We had lovely holidays when Abby was young. Great, great times. He just adored her. From the moment she was born.”

Lisa said Alexander’s funeral would have to be delayed until lockdown was over so her and her daughter could be there.

She said she was speaking out to urge people to follow government advice.

“I’m hoping this will make people listen and think – wait a minute, this can happen to us.

“For people to think ‘she’s lost her partner, she’s lost the father of her child to this’. He was 45, not 85. Not someone with underlying health problems. A fit and healthy man. Strong as an ox.

“At the moment I’m devastated. I don’t know how we’re going to live without him. It’s just unbearable at the moment. That’s all I can say.”

Dedicated dozen: Carers move in to keep coronavirus out

A team of 12 care home workers are spending 32 nights with elderly residents in a bid to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak.

A dozen care home workers are spending 32 nights on lockdown alongside elderly residents in a desperate bid to prevent coronavirus.

St David’s Care Home owner Ivan Cornford, 58, decided the best way to protect residents was by blocking access to the outside world.

It was only possible thanks to 11 of his employees volunteering to live in the home — and sacrificing contact with their own families for the entire time.

The ‘St David’s 12’ moved in on March 19 — a week before the UK-wide lockdown — and will stay until April 20.

Mr Cornford told STV News: “There wasn’t any clear guidance, so we decided that by sealing off the home and not letting anyone in we should keep the virus out.

“We got 11 volunteers to come and join us, they all said ‘yes’ without any hesitation. The families have been overwhelmed by the dedication of the staff. Their selflessness and dedication has been incredible.”

Ivan Cornford owns the care home and came up with the idea.

St David’s in Forfar, Angus, is home to 22 residents who hope the self-imposed isolation will keep them safe from Covid-19, which poses a greater threat to the elderly.

In the past week, two Scottish homes have suffered suspected outbreaks. Sixteen residents died at Glasgow’s Burlington Court, while eight lives were lost at Castle View Care Home in Dumbarton.

Other care workers have complained that a lack of adequate personal protective equipment is increasing the risks to those they are looking after.

Care workers Izzy Pringle and Lynn Morrison are sharing a makeshift bedroom at St David’s which they’ve named the ‘Shangri-la suite’, after the mythical paradise.

Izzy, 58, from Colliston, Angus, did not hesitate when asked if she would move in, adding: “It’s been amazing, really good, and the residents are enjoying having us here full-time. No one is bringing in the virus.

“I’ve been FaceTiming my husband and my two daughters and grand-daughter every night so I can keep in touch that way. Coming out of here is going to be emotional, we’ve all become so close.”

Lynn, 54, from Forfar said: “It was a case of whatever is better for the residents. If their wellbeing is better with us here, then that’s where I’ll be.

“It does feel a bit like we’re living in a bubble though. When I watch the news it’s hard to believe what’s going on.”

During the evening, staff and residents can unwind and enjoy a takeaway treat on Saturday nights.

Christine Macrae is one of two resident cooks. The 53-year-old, from Forfar, said: “In the evenings we get to have a bit of social time, and a few beverages – just a few though.

“A lot of the residents like to come and sit with us and join in the banter and they’re really enjoying that. We’re getting more involved with their life stories as we have more time to sit with them, they’re telling us things that they wouldn’t normally have told us.

“Sealing off the home was definitely the right thing to do. The residents are very vulnerable and if we can protect them by doing this then we can go to bed at night and sleep easy.”

Care worker Karen Black, 57, also from Forfar, said: “When they asked for volunteers to do this I thought there are people at home with young kids, and I have a son of 21, so I’m able to do it.

“It’s not the same as being at home but it’s as close as you can get. I love working here anyway, it’s a lovely home, a great place to work.”

Staff and residents can speak to visitors from the home’s balcony. Families can book visiting slots online and must stand in a designated safe space in the car park.

Mr Cornford maintains regular contact with other staff who are self isolating at home in preparation for their month-long stay.

He said: “The main aim for us is that the four weeks of isolation gives us a grace period, and the chance to plan ahead for the next round of staff coming in.

“They have all been following strict social distancing and calling in every day to report how they are.

“What we’re doing at the moment, sealing off, for most care homes this isn’t an option, and I get that. We have the bed space, we have staffing able and willing to do it and for us it is working.

“This is a care business, but you build up relationships with the people you look after, you get to know them, they’re part of your family, and you wouldn’t want family members to be ill.”

Dr Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care, which represents most independent care homes, said: “During these unprecedented times, I would like to commend everybody working in the frontline of the health and social care sector, who are trying their utmost to provide care and support to those who need it.

“This includes a thanks to all of the care staff who have made the decision to reside in the care homes they are working in, putting others before themselves by selflessly looking after residents day and night.

“These individuals are a shining light of the sector but by no means alone.”

More on:

Coronavirus live: ‘We’re not done with lockdown yet’

The latest coronavirus news and updates from across Scotland on Thursday, April 9.

Pixabay
Coronavirus: News and updates.

8.30pm: Blue light tribute during clap for our carers

The nation has once again come together to thank the NHS workers fighting coronavirus.

Now in its third week, the clap for our carers campaign continues to recognise key workers and all those working on the frontline battling to stop the spread of Covid-19.

At 8pm on Thursday, people across the UK showed their appreciation for health staff by cheering and applauding into the streets.

Thank you to all our emergency service workers who are working during #Coronavirus to keep our communities safe 👏 🚒 Scottish Fire and Rescue Service 🚑 Scottish Ambulance Service#ClapForCarers #ClapForKeyWorkers

Posted by Police Scotland on Thursday, 9 April 2020

Police Scotland joined forces with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Ambulance Service to hold a special blue light tribute.

7.20pm: Prime Minister out of intensive care

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care, Downing Street has confirmed.

On Thursday night, a spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery.

“He is in extremely good spirits.”

6pm: North Air agrees to furlough workers on full pay

Unite Scotland has welcomed the decision by North Air based in Aberdeen to furlough employees during the Covid-19 crisis on full pay.

North Air is a fuel tanker company for aircrafts based at Aberdeen Airport.  

The decision to furlough 27 workers in line with the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme follows Unite securing a trade union recognition agreement with the company earlier this year.

Unite regional officer, Shauna Wright, said: Unite the Union are delighted that North Air have agreed to utilise the government retention scheme and top up the salary to 100% for the workforce in Aberdeen. 

“This is a welcome offer from the company and shows that North Air as an employer values their staff group during these difficult times. 

“Unite earlier this year signed a recognition agreement with North Air and this is a testament to good working relationships at a local level. 

“We hope that this shows all employers that doing the right thing at the right time is the way forward.”

5.30pm: Lawyer to scrutinise police use of emergency powers

A leading human rights lawyer has been appointed to scrutinise Police Scotland’s use of emergency powers during the coronavirus crisis.

John Scott QC will be the chairman of an independent group examining how police are using the new powers granted by emergency legislation.

Officers now have the ability to fine or arrest those suspected of breaching lockdown rules.

Mr Scott is a solicitor advocate with more than 30 years’ experience in the legal profession. He was involved in the Lockerbie case appeal and previously led the Scottish Human Rights Centre.

He is also the chairman of a review into mental health legislation.

Chief constable Iain Livingstone invited him to take on the new role, following consultation with justice secretary Humza Yousaf.

5pm: Death toll continues to rise

A total of 7978 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, Dominic Raab has said, up by 881 from 7097 the day before.

On the possibility of easing the lockdown, the foreign secretary said: “We are not done yet. We must keep going.”

He added: “It’s been almost three weeks and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made.

“But the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus. So it’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.

“We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science.”

Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, he said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “continues to make positive steps forward and he’s in good spirits”.

3.25pm: Sturgeon will consider allowing those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 to be tested for the virus

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said testing relatives of people who have died from coronavirus could prevent them from “grieving alone”.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Leonard said “compassionate testing” could also help patients receiving end-of-life care to enjoy the time they had left.

So far, facilities across Scotland have carried out more than 27,000 tests for coronavirus. Priority is being given to NHS frontline staff.

The First Minister said she would look at the issue “very carefully”.

2.59pm: Postal staff walkout as bosses fail to clean ill worker’s desk

Angry postal staff staged a walkout after bosses failed to clean the workstation of a worker who was hospitalised with coronavirus symptoms.

Staff at a Royal Mail sorting office in Greenock, Inverclyde, raised their grievances after a worker fell ill in work between last Thursday and Saturday and was subsequently hospitalised.

Royal Mail walkout, coronavirus.
Royal Mail: The workers walked out on Monday.

A source said despite colleagues expressing their worries about the employee’s health, nothing was done by management and the worker continued to handle hundreds of parcels to be delivered.

Workers arrived at the sorting office on Monday morning to find out that their colleague had been admitted to hospital, yet they were expected to carry on as normal.

They immediately walked out while representatives from the Communication Workers Union (CWU) met with bosses.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “There was a disruption to service on Monday morning at Inverclyde delivery office.

“We are working with our people to resolve any areas of concern.

“A deep clean of the office is taking place today.

“Royal Mail takes the health and safety of its colleagues, its customers and the local communities in which we operate very seriously.”

2.20pm: Priority supermarket delivery slots for vulnerable Scots to be in place next week

Nicola Sturgeon said about 4200 packages of food and essential items have been delivered free of charge to “shielded” people unable to leave their home at all during the coronavirus pandemic.

She added that the 136,000 people across the country identified as most vulnerable by medics have all been contacted offering help to get medicine and – if requested – free food deliveries.

Of those, 21,000 have registered for the support service, Sturgeon said.

In addition to the offer of food deliveries through the Scottish Government’s contracts with suppliers Brakes and Bidfood, those in the shielded group will soon be able to ask for their details to be passed on to supermarkets who will offer priority delivery services.

2.09pm: Sturgeon: Scotland faces ‘mental health legacy’ from coronavirus

Scotland will be left dealing with a “mental health legacy” of coronavirus once the virus has been quelled, the First Minister has said.

Taking part in the first ever virtual meeting in the history of the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said the effects of isolation necessitated by the outbreak will be felt long after it is over.

In response to a question from Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, the First Minister said funding had been made available to allow for the expansion of counselling services, including the creation of virtual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions.

She said: “Not just in the immediate phase of dealing with this, but I suspect for a long time afterwards, we’re going to be dealing with a mental health legacy of it.

“We have to make sure that the services that provide the help that people need are there and that means expanding access to counselling now, but looking ahead to make sure that these services are appropriate in the future as well.”

1.50pm: New PPE advice for care workers following union anger

Coronavirus.

New guidance has been issued on what personal protective equipment (PPE) Scottish care workers should wear, following concern from trade unions.

The Scottish Government has agreed with unions and local authorities that the UK-wide guidance on PPE is “official and fully comprehensive”.

Unions had criticised supplementary guidance issued by Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen regarding the use of face masks for care workers looking after patients not suspected of having Covid-19 symptoms.

1.22pm: PM continues to improve after ‘good night’ in intensive care

Boris Johnson’s condition “continues to improve” in intensive care where he has spent three nights while being treated for the coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

The Prime Minister had a “good night” in St Thomas’ Hospital in London and thanks the NHS for the “brilliant care” he has received, his official spokesman said on Thursday.

Boris Johnson’s condition “continues to improve” in intensive care where he has spent three nights while being treated for the coronavirus.

Posted by STV News on Thursday, 9 April 2020

12.55pm: Coronavirus claims 81 more lives as death toll rises to 447

The coronavirus death toll in Scotland has risen to 447, the First Minister has confirmed.

Nicola Sturgeon said 81 more deaths had been recorded since yesterday.

Before a ‘virtual’ session of First Minister’s Questions, she said 4957 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in Scotland.

Sturgeon stressed as usual that the figure was an “underestimate”.

A total of 1781 coronavirus confirmed or suspected patients were in hospital as of 9am on Thursday, with 212 in intensive care.

12.27pm: Scottish coronavirus facilities have tested 5,000 people

Coronavirus testing facilities across Scotland have already tested 5,000 people.

This includes a new facility at Glasgow Airport, which opened in a long-stay car park on Sunday, and will prioritise testing NHS frontline staff.

The Glasgow drive-through facility is by invitation only, for those who are priority testing.

Professor Jason Leitch, the Scottish Government’s national clinical director, told BBC Radio Scotland: “We’ve now tested 5,000 health and social care workers across the country, partly using work you’ll have seen on the TV, and places in Fife and Tayside.

“It’s part of the UK approach to testing but we’re responsible for who gets in and out of that service. So, we take priority people and put them through that first, and as that expands we’ll be able to increase that list.”

12.16pm: Sturgeon not expecting COBRA to propose easing lockdown measures

The First Minister says easing of lockdown measures unlikely.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is not expecting the Cobra committee to propose any easing of the coronavirus lockdown measures, ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

The emergency meeting, featuring the leaders of the devolved governments, will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after the Prime Minister spent another night in hospital suffering from Covid-19.

The First Minister told Sky News the meeting is expected to discuss the current coronavirus situation and there is little chance lockdown measures will be changed.

She said: “I agree with Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales; I don’t think there is any possibility, any likelihood, of these lockdown measures being lifted immediately, or even imminently.”

12.10pm: Former justice secretary calls for prisoner releases to fight virus

Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for the Scottish Government to set up a prisoner release programme to tackle coronavirus.

Writing in the Scotsman, MacAskill said the state has a duty of care to inmates in its prisons, which are “geared toward hothousing the virus, rather than shielding the prisoner from infection”.

Last week, MSPs passed the Scottish Government’s emergency Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill which put in place provisions to allow prisoners to be released should the prison estate become overwhelmed.

Under the new law, only those convicted of sexual or terror offences or someone who poses a threat to an identified person will be exempt from release

12.04pm: Residents dead in coronavirus outbreak at third Scottish care home

A third Scottish care home has experienced a deadly Covid-19 outbreak, with nine elderly residents reportedly dying from the virus.

Staff at Tranent Care Home in East Lothian, which cares for people with dementia, are currently trying to manage the outbreak.

It follows other outbreaks at Castle View care home in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, where eight residents died after showing coronavirus symptoms, and Burlington care home in North Lanarkshire, where 13 died.

11.48am: Uni cafeteria delivers van load of stock to local food bank

A cafeteria at Edinburgh Napier University has delivered a van load of leftover stock to a local foodbank.

Enjoy at Edinburgh Napier in Sighthill sent the food to the bank at South Leith Parish Church on Tuesday.

In times like these we know how important is to pull together and help each other out. ❤️ Yesterday, we loaded up a van…

Posted by Enjoy at Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday, 8 April 2020

A Facebook post from Enjoy said: “In times like these we know how important is to pull together and help each other out.

“We loaded up a van and delivered our leftover stock from Sighthill to the food bank at South Leith Parish Church!

“A huge thank you to Rev. Iain May for all the work the church is doing to help those in need in the local community.”

10.48am: Scottish Building Society staff support Alzheimer Scotland helpline

Scottish Building Society has partnered with Alzheimer Scotland’s free 24-hour hotline to help those living with dementia and their families during lockdown.

Staff at SBS are supporting the charity’s volunteers by providing specialist advice on questions around finances, such as mortgages and savings.

With families in self-isolation, the charity have had to increase capacity on this critical lifeline.

They reached out to SBS to ask if staff could volunteer their expertise for the helpline.

Paul Denton, SBS Chief Executive, said: “It is critical at this time that those living with dementia and their partners, carers and friends know that they are not alone.

“Alzheimer Scotland provides a vital lifeline at these difficult times and everyone at the Society feels privileged to support such an essential charity.”

10.41am: Foodbanks across Scotland benefit from ScotRail stock donation

People in need across Scotland have benefitted from donations from ScotRail staff.

ScotRail’s hospitality teams have donated food and drink stock to charities operating foodbanks in Glasgow, Edinburgh Aberdeen and Inverness.

The train operator has temporarily withdrawn all on-board hospitality services from its trains, resulting in a surplus in short dated food and drink such as soft drinks, snack boxes and confectionary.

Help for the Homeless Glasgow and Church of Scotland’s Edinburgh North East and Leith foodbank are among the charities who received donations.

10.40am: Charity provides emergency supply packs to ‘sick kids’ hospital

An Edinburgh charity is providing emergency supply packs to support children and families in hospital through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) – which supports the Royal Hospital for Sick Children – has launched an emergency appeal to help families having to cope with the impact of the outbreak on top of the distress of having a sick or injured child.

The free emergency packs contain non-perishable food products and essential items including nappies, toilet roll, tinned soup, beans and tea bags so parents and carers do not have the additional stress of shopping for their families while their child is in hospital.

10.22am: Uni launches study to understand mental health implications of covid-19.

A leading university is launching a new study into the mental health and wellbeing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in adults across the UK.

The University of Glasgow will work in partnership with Samaritans and SAMH for the project.

The study will aim to understand the impact of the pandemic, and the unprecedented social distancing measures introduced across the country, on mental health indicators such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-harm or positive mental wellbeing.

9.55am: Airbnb cancels all bookings in the UK for the next month

Short-stay rental giant Airbnb has cancelled all bookings in the UK for April and said properties would only be available to health care professionals and key workers.

It put the restrictions in place in response to government advice regarding the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown.

Airbnb said in a statement: “In response to UK Government advice we have liaised with guests to cancel all leisure stays during April 2020 to ensure we limit the spread of coronavirus, protect our community and observe travel restrictions.

“During April we are happy to host healthcare professionals, or key workers connected to the coronavirus response who still need accommodation away from home during this difficult time.

9.16am: Doctor has only held his baby girl once as he self-isolates from family

In a bid to protect their families, some NHS workers have taken steps to isolate themselves outside of work.

Sending children to stay with grandparents, aunts and uncles is one step some NHS staff have chosen to take.

Other NHS workers have started living in hotels, hostels and other temporary accommodation as they care for coroanvirus patients.

One Glasgow GP described how he is still sharing a roof, but is isolating himself from his wife, son and newborn baby in order to protect them.

Sandesh Gulhane’s baby girl is just one week old but he has only held her once – after she was born by caesarean section in a sterile operating theatre.

He told PA that he wanted to do “everything” he possibly can to keep his family safe.

“I am basically socially distancing myself from my family,” Dr Gulhane said.

“I say hello, but I don’t hug my six-day-old child, my six-year-old son, I don’t go near my wife.

“I sleep in a separate room, I use a separate bathroom, I eat separately to them.”

He urged people to stay at home, adding: “I am sacrificing my family life and people can’t sacrifice having a BBQ.”

8.53am: Hearts to fight SPFL plans to relegate them to Championship

Premiership bottom club Hearts last night released a statement on SPFL plans to finish the season as it stands.

That would mean Hearts being relegated to the Championship, with Celtic being declared champions.

Here’s what Jambos chair Ann Budge had to say.

Ann Budge says Hearts will not accept SPFL plans to finish the season as it stands.

8.50am: What does the coronavirus data tell us?

The National Records of Scotland yesterday released detailed data on coronavirus deaths for the first time.

STV News’ online politics reporter Dan Vevers has analysed the numbers.

8.37am: Prime Minister spends third night in intensive care

Boris Johnson remains in intensive care, where he was taken on Monday night after his coronavirus symptoms worsensed.

He is said to be “responding well” to treatment and is sitting up and talking.

8.30am: Coronavirus claims life of first NHS worker in Scotland

STV News last night revealed the death of district nurse Janice Graham from Covid-19.

She’s the first NHS worker in Scotland to lose their life to the coronavirus.

Friends and colleagues have paid glowing tributes.

Janice Graham, coronavirus.
District nurse Janice Graham is the first Scots NHS worker to die from coronavirus.

8.15am: Nicola Sturgeon to hold virtual FMQs.

Thursday is usually the day the First Minister fields questions at the Scottish Parliament from opposition leaders and MSPs.

Today, however, she’ll do it via video call as part of her daily briefing from St Andrew’s House.

8.00am: UK Government to consider lockdown extension

The UK Government’s emergency committee Cobra will meet today to discuss an extension to lockdown.

Politicians will review the restrictions based on scientific evidence about the spread of coronavirus.

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ending lockdown early would be a “monumental mistake”

7.35am: Housing market ‘may need government intervention’

Government intervention may be needed to help revive the housing market after the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The RICS March 2020 Resident Market Survey shows a downward trend for all areas of the housing market across Scotland post Covid-19.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: “The feedback from the survey does imply that further government interventions both in the wider economy and more specifically in the housing market may be necessary.”

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are committed to supporting the housing market and home-building industry and to achieving the earliest possible restart of housing construction, but only when it is safe to do so.”

7.23am: New poll warns that Scotland is facing a ‘cost of living crisis’

Scotland faces a “cost of living crisis” amid the coronavirus outbreak, a poll of more than 1,000 adults has found.

The tracking poll for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found about a third (34%) of Scots were concerned about their ability to pay for food and other essentials.

7am: Dedicated dozen: Carers move in to keep coronavirus out

A dozen care home workers are spending 32 nights on lockdown alongside elderly residents in a desperate bid to prevent coronavirus.

St David’s Care Home owner Ivan Cornford, 58, decided the best way to protect residents was by blocking access to the outside world.

It was only possible thanks to 11 of his employees volunteering to live in the home — and sacrificing contact with their own families for the entire time.

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